Needcompany is an artists’ company set up by the theatre-maker and artist Jan Lauwers and the choreographer Grace Ellen Barkey in 1986. They form the core of the company, and it embraces all their artistic work: theatre, dance, performance, visual art, writing, etc. Their creations are shown at the most prominent venues at home and abroad.
Since the very beginning, Needcompany has presented itself as an international, multilingual, innovative and multidisciplinary company. This diversity is reflected best in the ensemble itself, in which on average 7 different nationalities are represented. Over the years Needcompany has put increasing emphasis on this ensemble. The close group of performers Jan Lauwers and Grace Ellen Barkey have collected around them is part of the long-term vision Needcompany has in view. While with Needcompany, the performers are given the opportunity to develop or examine their own personal artistic work. This has enabled several artistic alliances to flourish at the heart of the company: Lemm&Barkey (collaboration between the artists Grace Ellen Barkey and Lot Lemm, since 2004),MaisonDahlBonnema (collaboration between the performers and makers Hans Petter Dahl and Anna Sophia Bonnema, since 2003) and OHNO COOPERATION (collaboration between the performer, composer and artist Maarten Seghers and the artist and theatre-maker Jan Lauwers, since 2006). Thanks to these organically-grown joint ventures, external artistic experimentation is quite naturally implemented in the company’s everyday artistic work. Jan Lauwers and Grace Ellen Barkey enable their artistic vision to develop freely by collaborating intensively with the ensemble.
Needcompany is an artists’ company that revolves around the individual artist. Everything is founded on the artistic project, on authenticity, necessity and meaning. The medium itself is continually questioned, and there is constant examination of the quality of the content to be conveyed, in relation to the form it takes. The consequence of this is that the artistic work fans out into a variety of areas: Jan Lauwers creates stage plays and visual works, composes music and writes. Grace Ellen Barkey creates dance performances and also visual work in partnership with Lot Lemm. Maarten Seghers is not only an actor and composer in the company, but in OHNO COOPERATION also appears with Jan Lauwers as a curator and artist. Needcompany believes in quality, cooperation and innovation. Needcompany is a leading voice in the social debate on the urgency and beauty of art at both a domestic and an international level.